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“BREATHING MAY BE INJURIOUS TO HEALTH” - INCREASING AIR POLLUTION AWARENESS IN HYDERABAD
Sandeep Ganesh and Jayaram Mamidipudi; Winrock International India, Secunderabad, India

ABSTRACT

Hyderabad has some of the highest levels of outdoor air pollutants in India today. Studies show that vehicular traffic is responsible for over 65% of pollutants in the air. Rapidly increasing population and a booming economy are contributing to an automobile hungry consumer market. Consequently, the steeply rising trend of the release of pollutants into the city air shows no signs of abating. With a focus on curbing some of these trends, the Hyderabad Air Campaign – a public outreach and education program, was launched in Hyderabad in June 2004. Managed locally by Winrock International India (WII), this campaign is a part of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Integrated Environmental Strategies (IES) initiative and funded by USAID in New Delhi, with various local government agencies, schools, and health institutions as partners. The primary goals of the campaign are to increase public awareness, build support for implementation of cost-effective measures and to consequently energize the citizens to act to reduce outdoor air pollution levels. The Hyderabad Air Campaign reaches out to the citizens of Hyderabad through advertisements in leading local newspapers and magazines, on auto-rickshaw and bus backs, and through distribution of outreach materials such as leaflets and posters. The campaign website www.HyderabadAir.com houses detailed information about the program and solicits feedback and participation through an interactive form. Campaign advertisements have a compelling visual of a child wearing a respiratory dust mask, and urge people to undertake certain basic recommended actions to start addressing the problem. This campaign is igniting healthy discussions and debates in the city - furthering the cause for a future with clean air for Hyderabadis. The presentation will include results and impacts of the campaign to date and a discussion of the impact of information campaigns to motivate changes in behavior.

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